(Yet) Another Jim Wells Election Campaign Moment

Jim Wells is in the headlines again.

Betcha that’s a sentence which makes the DUP press team despair….

This time, Mr Wells has made the news for his proclamation that Sinn Fein is “not welcome” in a “unionist town.”

Mr Wells made the comments on Twitter in the aftermath of Sinn Fein election workers canvassing the small town of Rathfriland in the South Down constituency.

His (now deleted) tweet read:

Many complaints about Sinn Fein canvassing in Rathfriland yesterday. They are not welcome in this unionist town- particularly on a Sunday.

The description of Rathfriland as a “unionist town” provides some insight into the mentality of Jim Wells.

If we consult the NINIS website, which uses census data to provide an accurate representation of geographic areas, the demographic composition of Rathfriland does not seem to support Wells’ assertion.

According to the NINIS site, Rathfriland’s population is just under 40% Catholic.

If we were to employ the same logic in order to characterise cities, towns and villages from which unionist politicians should not be welcome (due to having 40% or less Protestants amongst inhabitants), then there would be no unionist canvassers welcome in Derry, Newry, Crumlin, Glenavy, Omagh, Castlederg- and, if projections are accurate, even Belfast in the next decade!

And that’s before we reflect on whether or not Mr Wells believes such ‘Nationalist’ towns should have to host Loyal Order parades….

Of course, there is a serious point in all of this.

Political party activists should be free to canvass any and all areas, and there has been tremendous progress on this front over the past 20 years as we have moved away from the conflict period.

The overwhelmingly majority nationalist village in which I reside has posters for candidates of many parties dotted along Main Street, and canvass teams from at least one of the two main unionist parties have gone door to door (as is their entitlement) in parts of the village in recent days and weeks.

Jim Wells’ comments are reflective of a mindset which seeks to dominate and exclude expressions of ‘The Other,’ seemingly opposing even the right of political parties to canvass mixed communities like Rathfriland.

The fact that he tossed in a reference to ‘Sunday’ is even more troubling…..

Sinn Fein’s South Down candidate, Chris Hazzard, did not appear deterred by the message:

“Our message of equality, rights and Irish unity was well received during our canvas yesterday in Rathfriland.

Sinn Fein will not be deterred by Jim Wells or anyone else from bringing that message to the electorate of South Down.”

 

 

  • john millar
  • john millar

    “Have you the figures for the growth of the Catholic population from 1920 to 1970”

    Try the census 1951 on (or earlier)
    Average prod offspring 2.2
    average roman catholic offspring 6.6

    https://www.nisra.gov.uk/publications/1951-census-reports

  • Croiteir

    If you regard Rathfriland as a Protestant area with a 60% Protestant population surely Carnlough with a 80% Catholic population is Catholic. As for the question as to what street is republican I would answer all of them as they certainly are not loyalist

  • Croiteir

    Pursuing the policies that nationalist people want

  • mickfealty

    Listen, a near relation of my was the local Catholic PP in Rathfrland, but I’m really not going tolerate non substantive arguments like this any longer than I have to.

    Please don’t try to pass your own anti Unionist big0try as an legitimate answer to Jim’s statement. Smarten up, or ship out?

  • john millar

    “So nothing wrong with whipping it up then! No problems about the double standards.
    Similar moping in Bangor about SF electioneering resulted in death threats and a car burnt.
    Surely a poltician has a duty (particularly such a devout Christian) should be careful about his language considering the place were we live.”

    I am thinking in particular of the poor naive SF children who arrived to canvass the widow of a cop murdered by the IRA. Had her son been present there would– at least -have been an “incident”

    Like the OO don`t go where you aren’t wanted

  • john millar

    What was catholic family size what are the relative mortality rates

  • John Collins

    Well Childers was a Protestant also was buried in Derrylossary in Co Wicklow and most of the politicians of the day attended.
    Anyway if he was a Catholic in England he could be Head of State, Prime Minister or Chancellor of the Exchequer. and we do return, even today, automatically return 26 RC Bishops to the Senate.

  • john millar

    ” As for the question as to what street is republican I would answer all of them as they certainly are not loyalist”

    It would appear from your figures that some 20% of the streets would at least be “not” republican

  • john millar

    The only post he could NOT aspire to is monarch

    All other posts open

  • john millar

    Take the signs down and send the bill to NDDMC

  • Croiteir

    So the answer is no – I have nothing to support my post?

  • John Collins

    John
    Is there anywhere we can get the number of all the Catholics and Protestants born in NI between 1920 and say 1990 and then see what percentage of both groupings left NI.

  • Croiteir

    That the south did not treat its minority as poorly as the north did

  • Sharpie

    Main St

  • John Collins

    What is your point?
    There was also Protestant United Irishmen, Fenians and IRA men.

  • Croiteir

    Why? do you think that the Protestants in Carnlough are in an enclave?

  • Croiteir

    Come on – You are posting away on the thread but are not answering

  • murdockp

    Jim, the next time you and your colleagues are offended by people working on your sacred sunday, remember this.

    The Nurses looking after your relatives and friends on a Sunday are ‘working’
    The electricity that powers your church is generated by people working on a sunday.
    The papers you read on after church were manufactured by workers working on a sunday
    The water in your taps was pumped to your house and church by people working on a sunday
    The TV you watch and the radio you listen too and the tweets you put out and the phone calls you make and answer were able to happen due to people working on a sunday.

    and on and on.

    This Protestant rule about the lords sacred day stands up to no scrutiny whatsoever.

  • murdockp

    Newry…right pain in the arse, I can’t get to the pub.

  • The Irishman

    Who?

  • John Collins

    No. The spouse of the Monarch cannot be RC.
    The Prime Prime is technically in no position to be an RC, as part of his duties is to advise the Monarch on the appointment of Anglican Bishops and he, or she, cannot be an RC and fulfill that function.
    Why did Tony Blair wait until the he was leaving No 10 to announce he was changing to RC?

  • Croiteir

    Make sure you supply them your name and address

  • James Press

    John, its not who is marching, but what! This isn’t about some small local tradition, but people who support loyalist sentiment. Have you seen the bands?

  • Romeo Sensini

    They are both majority nationalist towns, but the orange parades are accommodated. If you are really after specific streets I’ll give you one. Church st, Cookstown.

  • james

    Not clear on the timeline here, Chris – was this piece written after John O’Dowd’s car crash interview on Nolan, or is it written to drown out Ruth Dudley Edwards piece?

    http://m.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/columnists/ruth-dudley-edwards/hysterical-and-abusive-how-shinnerbots-display-their-utter-contempt-for-free-speech-35764837.html

    Or is it to distract from the whole ‘when did it become not ok to bomb Manchester’/ horror attacks thing?

  • james

    Why?

  • North Derry Celt

    Dungiven this Sunday

  • Granni Trixie

    It had to happen sometime -Chris and I are on the same page though perhaps with nuanced differences. I wouldnt bring marching into the equaltion, I think that defining areas exclusively as unionist or anything in NI is fundamentally wrong and to be resisted. I remember objecting when Jonathan Bell claimed he could win in SB defining it as “a unionist stronghold”. He has been proved wrong.

    Wells is a gift that keeps on giving though as long as the DUP have him in their ranks he is useful for keeping their extremes on board.

  • Granni Trixie

    It’s backward politics.

  • Nevin

    gom, the tweet was non-lethal unlike these actions of the slightly constitutional ‘armalite and ballot box’ Movement, actions that took place well within the referenced twenty year time-frame. The Movement’s hypocrisy has no bounds.

  • Granni Trixie

    I think this myth idea is based in the fact that post war there was low housing stock across the board in Ni. However in some Local areas more than others allocation of houses was discriminatory.

  • Granni Trixie

    That is not good enough for anyone with vision.

  • Granni Trixie

    I have only ever lived in Belfast and for parts of it you are being inaccurate. But agree it is a sad outlook.

  • Granni Trixie

    Except it was Wells of the DUP that gifted this incident to SF.
    As for JOD – though i think he is usually one of their better performers this one was indeed car crash listening.

  • Nevin

    “The fact that he tossed in a reference to ‘Sunday’ is even more troubling…..”

    The Gaelic-speaking residents of Lewis might well identify with Jim and those complainants:

    Mr Trump’s mother, Mary MacLeod, was born to a Gaelic-speaking fisherman and his wife in a tiny village on the Isle of Lewis in 1912.

    Lewis is the northern part of the largest island of the Outer Hebrides and is known for having a vast peat bog and a proud close-knit community.

    The God-fearing island is dominated by Calvinist ‘free churches’ and is described by the Lonely Planet travel guide as “the last bastion of Sabbath observance in the UK”.

    My dog and I don’t do prayer breakfasts – he sometimes has to remind me to do breakfast – but it’s been wonderful to see some commenters lose the run of themselves when US Republican and Democrat politicians manifested a blend of political and religious beliefs. The notion that respect/consideration can be a two-way street is often lost on those with rigid and/or restricted mindsets.

  • Jag

    Are you suggesting Nevin that US politicians don’t canvass/hold rallies on Sundays? Any link or proof. I don’t recall any let-up in campaigning by either Hillary or Donald in the recent US presidential election.

  • Nevin

    Nope.

  • aquifer

    Not very British. The DUP have wrecked one EU union so far.

  • WiseJeffrey

    That is because there none left after most were driven out.

  • WiseJeffrey

    Here, this might help you for starters

    https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=ira+diesel+laundering+south+armagh&oq=ira+diesel+laundering+south+armagh&aqs=chrome..69i57.6471j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

  • Croiteir

    So where did Mary Robinson’s husband come from?

  • Deeman

    Newry, North Belfast

  • grumpy oul man

    So no views on the DUP /UDA then just more dead cat politics.

  • I would guess that given the fact Glenavy and Crumlin feature high on your list, that you might be in South Antrim. The UUP are making a play for Nationalist votes in these places to keep out the DUP. I’m not so sure a unionist would campaign in these areas if it wasn’t for the sectarian tactical considerations that a Westminster election in south Antrim creates.

  • grumpy oul man

    No it is a responce to a dangerous and nasty statement by Jim Wells.
    At the least it was a stupid thing to say at worst,considering what happened in Bangor during the assembly elections it was dangerous.
    Thats why its happening.

  • john millar

    “That is not good enough for anyone with vision.”

    Whilst not good enough its reality

  • john millar

    “They are both majority nationalist towns, but the orange parades are accommodated. If you are really after specific streets I’ll give you one. Church st, Cookstown.”

    The Spar The Dunleath Arms and CFC interiors are “nationalist areas”?

  • john millar

    No prods in these areas?

  • the keep

    To omit facts isn’t grown up is it?

  • the keep

    Its clear from you that you want to downplay any republican crimes but are very happy to go overboard when loyalists committed crimes that in itself is very telling.

  • nilehenri

    limavady

  • the keep

    It must have been the Nationalist population grew!

  • john millar

    I think you may mean Church Street
    No Main Street in C.town
    All those nationalist shoe shops, bakeries, opticians
    LOL

  • john millar

    Don`t know-but if its like the rest of NI suggest that its likely

  • Karl

    I didnt downplay republican crimes, they werent in my post. I didnt feature any crimes committed by loyalists in my posts either. I asked when you would stop using the past as your excuse not to debate the future.
    You have gone off on a tangent about something I didnt bring up.

  • john millar

    No prods in Dungiven then (where the memorial to the murder gang is tastefully sited outside the local C O I)

  • Karl

    Was there not a kerfuffle about unionist politicians attending the funeral of a Catholic PSNI officer murdered for his role in defending the state they want to sustain?
    That is much more relevant that the attendance of a funeral 50 years ago.

  • john millar

    Try the various census information

    You will have to analyse– detail is not achieved in digital format

  • john millar

    “Why did Tony Blair wait until the he was leaving No 10 to announce he was changing to RC?”
    1 Because he is barking
    2 Finally gave into wifes demands

  • Korhomme

    There was. DUP politicians and OO members going into the wrong sort of church.

    But then, history here seems to dictate the present and the future rather than informing it.

  • John Collins

    No.None of those I am sure.
    The real and obvious reason is that as a Catholic he could not perform a recognised duty of a PM.

  • The Living End

    As Croiteir pointed out above (and you completely ignored)

    “If you regard Rathfriland as a Protestant area with a 60% Protestant
    population surely Carnlough with a 80% Catholic population is Catholic.”

  • WiseJeffrey

    Reading Nevin’s link (Which I did not remember) lead me to some further reading.

    “EVERY adult in Castlewellan knows what happened to Matthew Burns, who murdered him, why he was murdered and that the people who murdered him are still strutting around in their midst.”

    “What’s more, the people of Castlewellan know that the IRA members – most of whom are Sinn Fein election workers – have enriched themselves through organised crime.

    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/conspiracy-of-silence-over-slaughter-of-kickboxer-who-saw-off-ira-thugs-26206519.html

    So there you have it, Is it any wonder decent people take offence with people who glorify the actions of terrorists who have murdered their loved ones ?

    Sadly victims like Mathew Burns are forgotten about.

  • Madra Uisce

    Then what is the point of your off topic post

  • Nevin

    The ‘point’ is the topic of the quote.

  • Nevin

    gom, the ‘exotic cocktail’ was referenced previously, including the absence of certain individuals from photo-calls. The nature of some of our ‘charitable’ organisations has received little attention from the mainstream media.

  • Deeman

    Quoting “every adult” in Castlewellan! Its in the Irish Independent so it must be true. What do the dogs on the street say?

    “What’s more, the people of Castlewellan know that the IRA members – most of whom are Sinn Fein election workers”
    More Independent half truths and lies.

  • Dónall

    Sometimes I think the only interaction some people have with ‘the other side’ is through these online forums such as this one. I’m sure people wouldn’t be so rude to each other if they were face to face.

  • Dónall

    Does anyone get the impression that some of our politicans are maintained in their positions just so they will have something to occupy themselves with?

  • Romeo Sensini

    At least 2 of those are Catholic owned, I don’t know about the other.

  • Reader

    Karl: This will be an ettiquettical canvassing nightmare on your street.
    I thought the etiquette runs as follows: (1) They identify themselves as canvassers and state who they represent. (2) They ask if you will be voting and express a cautious interest in your own voting intentions. (3) They offer to answer any questions you may have about their candidate/party/manifesto. (4) But if they want to deliver a speech they can sod off.
    The canvasser may not enjoy your answers to (2) or your questions from (3). Therefore, unless JM is engaging in euphemisms all seems to be in order.

  • mac tire

    Leave it. It appears his argument is going to boil down to if there are one or two Protestants in an area then it can’t be called Nationalist or Republican.

  • Reader

    John Collins: .. and he, or she, cannot be an RC and fulfil that function.
    But a Presbyterian like Gordon Brown can? So far as I am aware modern PMs have taken ‘expert’ advice on the matterat trusting to their inside knowledge

  • Croiteir

    Well there we go – you didn’t let ignorance of the locality stop you from posting about it, the answer is no, it is a very stable well integrated community.

  • mac tire

    Newry, Mourne & Down DC put them up. I don’t suggest you advocate criminality on this site.

  • grumpy oul man

    Could you be a bit more specific.
    Perhaos show us were you made the recerence.
    But it still doesn’t explain how on a thread about a unionist coming out with what is both a dangerous and inflammatory statement, you chose to ignore it and refer instead to something that happened fifteen years ago.
    This is what is known as dead cat politics, which gets us nowhere.

  • grumpy oul man

    Perhaps a different way of expressing O5OCT68s point is ” what can be claimed without evidence can be dismissed without evidence”
    Hitchens Razor.

  • DP Moran

    The comments by the Alliance parties Paula Bradshaw about nationalism are worse than Jim Wells but it is this which is getting the most coverage.

    The DUP and the UUP have the good sense not to put up election posters or canvass in my area (overwhelmingly Republican) however the Alliance party has placed a few posters here and there this time round, the first time a Unionist party has done so. I can only hope a few of the people around here have also heard the sneering anti-Irish comments from Alliance and the posters do not remain up too long.

  • Zorin001

    Alliance have the absolute right (subject to obeying all laws and procedures) to hang their posters in whatever area they are campaigning, as does any other party and they should not be intimated to remove them nor have them moved by 3rd parties. I’ve complained before about Sin Fein posters being removed in my area (strongly Unionist) and would condemn likewise happening in Nationalist areas.

    Apart from that what did Bradshaw say? Haven’t seen it.

  • DP Moran

    Her comments about Alasdair McDonnell in South Belfast and nationalism in general. It was in the Belfast telegraph today beside the Wells story.

  • Nevin
  • john millar

    “If you regard Rathfriland as a Protestant area with a 60% Protestant
    population surely Carnlough with a 80% Catholic population is Catholic.”

    Agreed Carnlough predominately Roman Catholic and?

  • john millar

    “Well there we go – you didn’t let ignorance of the locality stop you from posting about it, the answer is no, it is a very stable well integrated community.”

    On further enquiry I am informed that the protestant community in Carnlough resides in relatively close proximity to one other

  • Croiteir

    Okay – where?

  • john millar

    “So the answer is no – I have nothing to support my post?”
    I have provided the sources

    I suggest you search the source data which on a census by census basis provides data by area by religion with details on family size

    Unfortunately the data is not digitised -so its a bit of a slog.
    With the (proud ?) boast that roman catholics are overtaking protestants in the North this means that there have been a slew of virgin births, arrivals from another planet or a higher birth rate in the roman catholic community than in the protestant community.
    The 6.6-2.2 statistic is extracted from the 1951 census

  • Croiteir

    Okay- I will help you out here. The Catholic percentage fell between 1911 and 1981 from 34.4 to 28.0 – in spite of the far higher birth rate. So perhaps, based entirely on the logic that you have brought to the discussion, the number is exceedingly large, personally I believe that enforced emigration has a lot to do with it too.

  • John Collins

    ‘Greek Turk or Hun may enter here but not a Papist’ This was once exhibited in a sign over the gates of Bandon. The fact is the exclusion applies to these Papists. Gordon was OK, as he was not a Roman Catholic

  • William Kinmont

    I like sifting ,ruling lines and having a punt at Downpatrick of a Sunday will I have to give up the sifting?

  • john millar

    You appear to have missed two world wars and an IRA campaign which might skew figures.

    IF a(s appears to be the case ) the roman catholic community is adding three to the pop for every prod added It would appear that three roman catholics will bear on housing education (un)employment social security and health costs for every prod who does so.

    Where employment prospects are limited it would also appear that pressures to emigrate will be subject to the same ratio with the a greater number of roman catholics expected to emigrate

    The fact that the RELATIVE proportion fell from 34.4 to 28 (Iincluding two world wars and a PIRA campaign) when compared with the mass exodus from the ROI during the same period would suggest that roman catholics in NI were failing to contribute to emigration in the expected 3:1 ratio

  • Croiteir

    I see – the percentage of Catholics fell due to increased mortality during the two world wars meaning that a greater percentage of Catholics died than stay at home Protestants, that’s loyalty for ye.
    And the next line – what is that about? The stats are saying that the population of Catholics fell in those years, fell, not increased. are you getting that?

  • john millar

    “see – the percentage of Catholics fell due to increased mortality
    during the two world wars meaning that a greater percentage of Catholics
    died than stay at home Protestants, that’s loyalty for ye.

    The world wars and partition make comparisons difficult
    This is why I referenced post ww2

    And the
    next line – what is that about? The stats are saying ”
    that the
    population of Catholics fell in those years, fell, not increased. are
    you getting that?”

    The PROPORTION fell- not the absolute number

    With the population increasing overall and roman catholics contributing at least 75% of that increase It is expected that the roman catholic community would contribute at least 75% to emigration.With one section of the community “exporting” more people than another imbalance over time is inevitable

    Since 1951 the number and relative proportion of roman catholics inn N I have continued to rise (hence the “we will out breed themmuns” line from SF)

  • john millar

    “see – the percentage of Catholics fell due to increased mortality
    during the two world wars meaning that a greater percentage of Catholics
    died than stay at home Protestants, that’s loyalty for ye.

    The world wars and partition make comparisons difficult
    This is why I referenced post ww2

    And the
    next line – what is that about? The stats are saying ”
    that the
    population of Catholics fell in those years, fell, not increased. are
    you getting that?”

    The PROPORTION fell- not the absolute number

    With the population increasing overall and roman catholics contributing at least 75% of that increase It is expected that the roman catholic community would contribute at least 75% to emigration.With one section of the community “exporting” more people than another imbalance over time is inevitable

    Since 1951 the number and relative proportion of roman catholics inn N I have continued to rise (hence the “we will out breed themmuns” line from SF)

  • North Derry Celt

    “Prods” as you call them yes , about 4% of population, but 0% of them are in the OO who seek to march through the town.
    The OO never existed in Dungiven until those uppity taigs started to look for things like one man one vote, civil rights and the like. Strange that? Don’t you think?

  • Croiteir

    Wrong again – the numbers did fall from 430,161 in 1911 to 414,532 in 1981,

  • grumpy oul man

    Again nevin not being specific.
    We are talking about Jim wells now but you cant seem to be able to type anything. Just refering to a general thread which somebody will have to trawl through to maybe find something.
    You have problems with the whol evidence and proof things.

  • Nevin

    gom, I challenged the twenty year assertion but you seemed anxious to divert the challenge. On your second point, the blog linking has changed but you can search that particular thread with ‘exotic’. Some of the other links may no longer be working but you can continue your research at Companies House.

  • john millar

    “Okay – where?”

    On consultation my informant points out that there are a mere half dozen or so streets/ roads in Carnlough and has no intention of placing themselves at further risk by allowing a specific location to be identified.

    Pointing out

    The burning down of the local Orange Hall
    The beating to death of a protestant bandsman by two local residents/activists
    The steady decline in protestant population influenced by the SF inspired take over of the village -leading to the loss of the protestant primary school

    Are hardly shining examples of an “integrated community”

  • john millar

    “The OO never existed in Dungiven until those uppity taigs started to look for things like one man one vote, civil rights and the like. Strange that? Don’t you think?”
    IO fear you ignorance shines through at every level

    1 There was universal franchise One man one vote to you) for elections to parliament
    2 There were property qualifications for local government elections A famous beneficiary of this was teh father of the Past President of Ireland M McAleese. Prods as a grouping were included in this “discrimination”
    3 The OO appears to have been around Dungiven for longer than you realise

    http://www.limavadyorange.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/the-winding-roe-issue-7-2008.jpg

    (Note in particular the Prod decline from around 50/50)

  • john millar

    “Wrong again – the numbers did fall from 430,161 in 1911 to 414,532 in 1981,”

    I explained very carfeully that two world wars and partition made comparisons for earlier years difficult and i concentrated post WW2 as a period of relative stability